NEW YORK STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Jim & Tony Nordland

     Section Eleven (Suffolk County) won the 48th annual NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships before 4,562 fans at the Times Union Center in Albany. The navy blue-clad contingent amassed 280.5 points to outdistance runner-up Section Eight (Nassau County) with 192 and Section Six who finished with 136.5 points. The Suffolk squad crowned eight champions, including four-time placer and two-time champion Stephen Dutton (49-0, 227-12 career) of Rocky Point. Dutton, who eked out a semifinal overtime win, cruised in the finals, as he used a barrage of takedowns and tilts for a 16-1 tech fall en route to the 140-pound crown. Three-time state medalist and two-time titlist Andy Rodriguez (35-0, 193-25) of Central Islip was pushed into overtime by Tony Carlo (61-4) of Monsignor Farrell. Rodriguez escaped using a granby roll with four seconds in regulation to force the overtime. After the score was still knotted at 2-2, Rodriguez rode out Carlo for 30 seconds and the 145-pound championship. Other gold medalists were Mark West (43-0) of Hauppauge at 96, the Huntington tandem of Nigel McNeil (38-0, 123-15) at 112 and Damon McQueen (42-1,117-9) at 119. McQueen defeated defending champion Grant Greene (33-3, 137-12) of St.Anthony's in the marquee match of the finals. Greene opened the scoring with a dump and added another takedown for an early lead. McQueen rallied with a key switch and later tied the match at 7-7. Ten seconds into overtime, McQueen shot a quick double leg and emerged with a thrilling 9-7 victory. Also earning titles were Nick Meinsen (42-0, 142-7) of John Glenn at 130 and Rocky Point teammates Anthony Volpe (43-1, 221-19) at 160 and Billy Coggins (46-1, 218-21) at 171. Syosset's Nick Arujau (38-0, 185-7) scored quickly with a single leg takedown and defeated three-time finalist Justis Flamio (33-2) of Mahopac-1, by a 7-5 verdict and earned his third state title.
     Other champions included sophomore Al Dierna (39-2, 89-10) of Wayne at 103, two-time winner Andrew Lenzi (38-0, 168-15) of Fordham Prep at 135, Giuseppi Lanzi (42-0, 246 wins, 152 pins) of Amsterdam at 152, Angelo Malvestuto (48-0, 222-36) of Niagara-Wheatfield at 189, two-time champion Kyle Colling (49-0, 158-34) of Pioneer at 215 and Johnson City's Lance Moore (32-0) at 285 pounds. Four-time state placer Malvestuto (4-3-3-1) scored with a series of double leg takedowns to defeat two-time finalist Matt Loew (42-2, 161-35) of Wantagh, 9-3, to earn his coveted state championship.

     In the Division Two Tournament, Section Five edged Section Four, 282.5 to 265 points.The Rochester area team was paced by twin brothers, Owen Scott (42-3, 193-22) at 152, and Craig (43-1, 148-25) at 160 of Palmyra-Macedon. Greene crowned two champions; Nick Wilcox (46-2, 216-11) won his third title at 130 and four-time placer Tyler Beckwith (5-2-1-1) earned his second championship. Beckwith (45-0, 236-10) used a hip toss to flattened his opponent in 36 seconds for the 171-pound crown. Peru junior and two-time titlist Arik Robinson (41-2, 142-18) won the 112-pound class. Other Division II champions that remained unscathed were Penn Gottfried (43-0) of Ardsley at 119, Derek Pfluger (44-0) of Sandy Creek at 135, Mike Nevinger (42-0) of Letchworth at 145 and East Aurora's Colin Palmer (28-0) at 189 pounds.
Rocky Point's Stephen Dutton (Section XI) works to control Iroquois' Jim Kloc (Section VI) in the 140 pound title. Dutton won with a 16-1 technical fall to capture his second title.
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Syosset's Nick Arujau (Section VIII) uses his bar arm to turn Mahopac's Justis Flamio (Section I) in the 125 pound final. Arujau went on to capture his third title, winning 7-5.
Greene's Tyler Beckwith (Section IV) throws Batavia's Ryan Darch (Section V) for a first period fall in the Division II 171 pound final.
Mat Notes...
   The state leader in sectional team titles is Section Eleven with 18, and at the 2010 state meet they garnered 20 place-winners. Section Eleven now has 142 NYS champions, followed by Section Four with 131 titles and Section Eight with 104 individual champions. Three-time champion Nick Arujau became the first wrestler from  Nassau County to reach the state finals four times. His last defeat was in the 2007 state finals as a freshman and has reeled off 123 consecutive victories. He eclipsed the mark set by Wantagh's two-time state champion Paul Liguori of 122 straight wins. Arujau also became only the fifth wrestler to claim three state titles. The others were Bob Bury (1976-78) of Calhoun, Al Palacio (1980-82) of Long Beach, John Lange (1992-94) of Longwood and four-time winner Jesse Jantzen (1997-2000) of Shoreham-Wading Rriver. Four-time state placer Stephen Dutton (2-3-1-1) became the winningest wrestler in Long Island history with a 227 victories. The previous mark was held by Jesse Jantzen (221-3). Jantzen still holds the state mark of 163 consecutive victories. Arujau will attend American University and Dutton will take his mat skills to Lehigh.

    Two transfers claimed state titles, in Div. I, Lance Moore was a former two-time PA state medalist, earning 3rd and 5th place finishes while at Lackawanna Trail, he won at 215 pounds for Johnson City. In Div. II, sophomore Abdulgawi Mohamed (43-1) moved to the US from Yemen, and has been involved in wrestling for only three years. He won the 103-pound class for Lackawana. Tristan Rifanburg (35-1) of  Norwich became the first 7th-grader ever to win a state championship. Rifanburg defeated four opponents en route to the 96-pound title. Troy Nickerson (Chenango Forks) won his first state crown as an 8th-grader and went on to capture five state crowns. Nick Meinsen became John Glenn's first state champion and capped a spectacular season for the top mat squad in the state, as the Knights finished the year with a perfect 21-0 mark  and have a 57-match win streak. Nigel McNeil and three-time state placer Damon McQueen (3-2-1) became Huntington's 24th and 25th state champions. They will now have their names emblazoned on the home mat. Coaches Lou Giani and  Kieran Mock, and the Blue Devils are the state leader with their 25 individual champions. Div. I finalist Tony Carlo had a state leading 61 victories and Div. II champion Quinton Murphy (125) of Holley had an impressive 59-1 mark. Valley Central's Cody Ruggirello was a four-time state place-winner and won a state title as a freshman in 2007. He finished the season with 55-2 mark and an overall record of 275-20, which is now the most career wins in the state. Both Tyler Beckwith and Kyle Colling won NHSCA junior national titles. Rocky Point became only the sixth school to have three champions at the state meet with Dutton, Volpe and Coggins. The others were Mepham (1964), Brentwood (1971), Longwood (1992), and both Islip and Valley Central in 2005. That aforementioned trio propelled the Rocky Point to capture the Division I team title with 72.5 points, followed by Huntington (67.5), Wantagh (62), Wayne (61) and Chenango Forks with 52. In Division II, the top team was Palmyra-Macedon with 86 points, followed by Phoenix (83), Greene (58), Peru (56.5) and Warsaw with 53. The combined record of the Division I champions was 619 victories and just 5 losses. Some thoughts for future state championships- put all contestants in both Division I and II in a single 32-man bracket, and place out to the top eight in each weight class, along with four All-State honorable mention awards. Only three states have single classifications for their state championships; California, Indiana and New Jersey. The 2011 NYSPHSAA State Tournament is scheduled for the weekend of February 25th and 26th...